Trump plans halt to National Guard deployments before retirement benefits kick in: report

The more than 40,000 National Guard members deployed to states to help in coronavirus relief may end up one day short of qualifying for federal benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill once President Trump’s executive order deploying them expires on June 24.

An official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in an interagency call on May 12 reported on by Politico that the guardsmen will face a “hard stop” on June 24 to prevent them from reaching the 90 days of duty credit needed to qualify for early retirement and education benefits.

Deployed in late March, on June 24 most will hit 89 days of duty credit. 

National Guard members must be enlisted for 20 years to qualify for a pension at age 60, but for every 90 days served in a federal emergency, they are able to speed up retirement by 3 months and qualify for reduced tuition at public universities. 

The guardsmen have helped states with medical tasks and conducting elections. 

The FEMA official noted the removal of the guardsmen while some states are still shorthanded would require delicate “unified messaging.” 

“We would greatly benefit from unified messaging regarding the conclusion of their services prior to hitting the 90-day mark and the retirement benefit implications associated with it,” the official said, according to the audio obtained by Politico. 

FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

The agency told Politico it was not yet certain whether guardsmen’s duties will be extended.

“We’re not there yet on the determination,” the spokesperson said. “Nobody can say where we’ll need to be more than a month down the road.”

Governors and Democratic lawmakers have asked the Trump administration to extend their deployment until the end of the year, arguing pulling them out early “could contribute to a possible second wave of infection.”

Tags benefits Coronavirus Donald Trump National Guard
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